Even though Brent has said many times (even putting it in text in the software itself) that the sync function in NetNewsWire 2.0 beta needs work, I was wondering if anyone had figured out a work-around or cause of this bug.

It's keeping me from using NNW at work and it's bumming me out.

But this is cheering me up like a cheap, hollow chocolate bunny.

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Bags

When I saw this picture on Matt's photo blog I hoped that he'd gotten an ACME bag for Christmas. But no, it was his wife Kay's. I've wanted an ACME looking bag for a while but they are a bit too feminine, I guess. I think I annoy my girlfriend with all the "Ooh, look at that bag! Too bad it's for women." I do when we're out shopping. If I were a woman I would probably own a lot of bags, probably as many shoes as I do.

Oops.

Wikipedia

The Wikipedia has settled quite a few arguments this Christmas. We just found out that Vinko Bogataj (the "agony of defeat" guy from ABC's Wide World of Sports) is alive and loves woodcarving.

My great-uncle was in The Battle of the Kasserine Pass and the Second Battle of El Alamein. It was cool to be able to read about something I hadn't planned on learning about.

I got some great presents this year, but the best had to be my dad healthy and back to his old self. After dinner our family drank tea and had Stollen while listening to Hawaiian Lap Steel Guitar.

Gotta love that Wikipedia.

ITMS

My new obsession is the ITunes music store. Specifically the audio-books. I listened to Sun Tzu's "The Art of War" on the way to my parents' house. The text is freely available to be read online, and I've tried to get through it several times, but listening in the car turned out to be the best way to get through it. I also picked up a couple episodes of This American Life. I recommend this MacGyver themed one .

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This song by Neil Cleary called "When All Of Us Get Famous" makes me a little sentimental. I'm no musician, but as a web tinkerer with aspirations of doing something grand, I can relate to what he's singing about.

Neil links this song on his site, so I think I'm okay offering it up. Please buy the album.

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My job title changed three times. Anil saved my blog. Dropcash topped $20,000. Dropload is appearing in MacWorld and this web site would have as well if it weren't for the phrase "Damn Ass Hell Kings" used a few weeks back. I accepted money for an account on a web site I run. I'm telling you, it's been weird...

Watched my company's online Christmas card blow up. Experienced what it's like to be on the other side of ill-informed, self-righteousness (Onion headline: Old Man Thinks Website Was Designed To Target Him, Writes Blog Entry Concerning Vagisil's Confusing Imagery). The video is for our clients to laugh at and possibly get people to click over to our company site...which you did...and read generous portions of...which you did...and then you linked it...gee, that sounds like the marketing worked.

"Semi-Professional writer" indeed.
Fattypomh

When you want to dress up and pretend to be Mr. Anti-Corporate Warrior, be sure to remove that Google banner from your site, Ché.

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Me: Wow! This is cool, come see this!
Other Programmer: What?
Me: This, it's called Google Suggest. Watch, give me a phrase.
OT: Um.... um....
Me: Anything, it doesn't matter.
OT: Big. Bottomed. Girls.
I type it in and it auto-fills as I type...
Me: See?
He stares at it for a few seconds and then declares.
OT: It's filling in because you already searched for it!

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My friend Dakota woke up to find his house flooded:

my girlfriend woke me up in the middle of the night, "why is the dog whining?" and by the time she figured out the dog was trying to tell us she was swimming in knee high water, it was too late. i mean, it was too late even before then.

Two feet of water doesn't sound like much until you see this picture and think about all the things you have that would be destroyed by that kind of flooding.

More photos of the incident on Flickr.

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Eponymous Songs

  1. Minor Threat - "Minor Threat"
  2. Bad Religion - "Bad Religion"
  3. Beastie Boys - "B.E.A.S.T.I.E. Boys"
  4. Big Country - "In A Big Country"*
  5. Talk Talk - "Talk Talk"
  6. Tin Machine - "Tin Machine"
  7. Living In A Box - "Living In A Box"
  8. Black Sabbath - "Black Sabbath"
  9. Dag Nasty - "Dag Nasty"
  10. The Monkees - "The Monkeys"
  11. The Ramones - "R.A.M.O.N.E.S."*
  12. Motorhead - "Motorhead"
  13. Descendents - "Descendents"
  14. Madness - "Madness"
  15. Belle & Sebastian - "Belle & Sebastian"
  16. Iron Maiden - "Iron Maiden"
  17. Murphy's Law - "Murphy's Law"
  18. Green Day - "Green Day"
  19. Butthole Surfers - "Butthole Surfer"*
  20. General Public - "General Public"
  21. King Apparatus - "King Apparatus"
  22. Dr. Octagon - "Dr. Octagon"
  23. They Might Be Giants - "They Might Be Giants"
  24. The Pharcyde - "The Pharcyde"
  25. Bad Company - "Bad Company"
  26. The Selecter - "The Selecter"
  27. Sigur Ros - "Sigur Ros"
  28. Aphex Twin - "Aphex Twin"
  29. Pet Shop Boys - "Pet Shop Boys"
  30. Porno For Pyros - "Porno For Pyros"

*Close enough.

Many thanks to the men and women of FilePile for helping compile this list.

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I just rolled through this list of the top 100 overlooked films compiled by the online film critics society and netflixed a bunch of them.

Miller's Crossing definitely deserves to be at the top of that list. I was on Amazon's DVD waiting list for that one to get released and have watched it almost as much as #17 on that list.

Zero Effect written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan's son Jake is a classic movie mystery set in Portland. It's something of an homage to Sherlock Holmes but you don't need to know anything about those stories to get this film. The movie has a weak ending that is a bit of a let down, but the rest of the movie is so good you'll hardly notice. Ryan O'Neil plays his "red-faced, emotional guy" as good as any other film he's been in, and Ben Stiller is a good foil for Bill Pullman. Bill Pullman! This movie made me want to get a little Bill Pullman tattoo on my butt.

The commentary track is also very good. Jake later directed some episodes of "Freaks and Geeks", including the pilot, but nothing else worth noting. His IMDB page doesn't even show him working on anything at this moment.

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When you're a kid and you're watching TV, it's sometimes hard to distinguish between what is the entertainment and what is the commercial. Cal Worthington Ford "down in Long Beach" had the most entertaining and catchy spots of them all, and anyone who grew up in Southern California could finish the phrase, "If you need a car or truck..."

I bet there were Cal Worthington-type advertisements when you were growing up. I'd love to hear about them. The Wolfman in Atlanta? The Wiz in New York?

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I had a new idea for a way of representing a weblog in a tree format. Rather than a linear, post-post-post fashion, there can be parallel "branches" splitting and re-joining. If I feel like posting links for a few days, it doesn't drive everything down below the fold, and if I have a side project I want to document for a few days, I don't have to start a new blog on a different page. Instead a line would split off the main 'trunk' and progress northward like a regular weblog.

I've been thinking about solutions for the back-end data, and at first I thought I could solve the problem with a parent-child type database-something like a message board turned on its side:

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    ----------
    ----------
  ----------

Becomes:

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    |||||
    |||||
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   |||  |
   |
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But now I'm thinking if I could just make an association between blog_id's, every time I have a new branch I'd just start a new blog and specify one blog_id as the parent to another. Upon closing out a weblog, I'd just represent a folding in, similar to a CVS branch rolling into the main trunk.

I'm not as concerned with the back-end as much as rendering the front end. I'll have to have an intermediate "data cooking" step before printing it to the page that builds a nested array. Displaying small windows of data (e.g., month of June) means I'll have to do something tricky, I just don't know what.

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I really do ♥ TypeKey. So much so that I started a little TypeKey Wiki that puts some TypeKey links together for developers looking to implement the sign-on service.

I invite you to add your own links and text where appropriate.

I'm also running this system on Instiki which is a fine wiki for this sort of thing. I made some edits this morning to the source code and it was really fairly painless.

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My friend Michael who runs Wordphoto sent out a request for help in keeping wordphoto alive (bandwidth probs!) and his request was answered.

Even more impressive is this Toy Drive being held by AcuraZine. $5,000 worth of Matchbox cars is an awesome idea for a gift, I pitched in a couple of dollars, why don't you?

Speaking of pitching in, I realized today while looking over the database, I've handed out nearly $200 in testing and helping people get their campaigns rolling. It boggles my mind sometimes when I think about the free sites and the time I spend working on them, and I still haven't managed to get any of them to turn a profit. It's like I'm not even trying.

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My cyber-internet-friend Gabriel Jeffrey has compiled a book from the grouphug.us archives called Stoned, Naked, And Looking in My Neighbor's Window for Simon & Schuster. It's a real live book you can go to your local store (or shoppe for those of you in the UK) and buy.

I like the UK cover more than the US one. Mainly because I like comics more than girls in panties.

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I finally got to see GBV on their farewell tour on Friday night. While skimming the GBV site I noticed these City Proclamations declaring certain days "Guided By Voices Day".

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Not only is this story of Audion a great read, but the popups are pretty cool as well. Be sure and click the links in that article to see them all.

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I had never heard of OK Soda before. In fact, I thought it was a joke my co-worker was making up to make make up for the untold number of lies I have told him about the Catholic Church. It turns out there really was an OK Soda and Daniel Clowes really did design the cans and cases.

The Baffler (!) on OK Soda. Suck on OK Soda.

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I came home from work last night to find an email in my inbox telling me Delicious Library had been released. It's a cataloging system for books, movies, music, and video games with some very cool features like using your iSight (finally a use!) camera to scan barcodes, seamless integration with Amazon, as well as storing everything in an XML format for easy parsing and exporting. Your inventory can be "checked-out" to people on your borrowers list which conveniently draws from your OS X address book.

The Good

  1. Simple interface, I didn't even have to read the directions. After looking at screenshots for the past few months I immediately started scanning in my library without a problem.
  2. The iSight scanner is kind of fun to use. After a hundred pieces of media checked-in I've gotten pretty good with the thing.
  3. The XML format means I can easily write a shell script to do things with the data.
  4. There's a menu option that takes you to the first step for selling your item on Amazon. It'd be nice if there was an Ebay link as well.

The Bad

  1. The iSight scanner doesn't always work. Some barcodes have to be manually typed in. I expected this to happen, but I can't justify buying a barcode reader.
  2. I'd like to be able to use the iSight to take photos for some of my items that don't have Amazon photos from inside the software. I can't even drag a photo on top of the library items. It'd be nice if there were more options for how the media is displayed.

After using it for less than an hour I knew I wanted to buy it. It's a great product and if you're the sort of person that enjoys cataloging and filing, this is a must-have piece of software.

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References to The Jesus and Mary Chain in pop culture.

I took the Pixies' Trompe le Monde on my trip to visit my parents this weekend. It's one of my favorite albums of theirs and has the most aggressive stretch of Pixies (tracks 2-6) I can think of. Great mountain driving music.

Their cover of JAMC's "Head On" is always perplexing to me. It's a good cover and a great lead into "UMass"*, but it always seemed like a strange choice for the Pixies considering it was such a 'hit' for JAMC.

I was surprised to see that The Jesus & Mary Chain's albums were all imports on Amazon—"out of print in the U.S.". For a few years all I ever listened to was Barbed Wire Kisses, Darklands, and Psychocandy on cassette, and when I made the jump to CDs I could only afford Psychocandy. I never thought those albums would fall out of print when you consider influences keep popping up this many years after. ("Do you remember the J A M C, and reading aloud from magazines?" - Death Cab For Cutie Transatlanticism)

*Probably my favorite Pixies song of all time, even if the chord progression got nicked by Nirvana.

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My friend Brian just launched a new site called Poetc that gives you two minutes to add a line to the current poem every day. Like his other site, oneword, it uses MovableType's comments to provide a daily piece of content for people to respond to.

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I still do not have a proper response formulated for things people have forwarded me that I have already seen. In addition to running FilePile, I read blogs. Lots of them. I have over 200 subscriptions that I actively keep track of, so the chances of me seeing photos of Ron Jeremy seeing his first goatse are pretty high.

I don't want to be rude about it, but I just have no simple way of saying, "seen it" without feeling like a jerk every time.

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Ashley Simpson seems to have raised a ton of interest in another infamous SNL performance. A few years back I wrote about Elvis Costello and the Attractions doing "Radio, Radio" on SNL. When the Ashley Simpson thing happened the conversations in all the little PHPBB boards and Fark boards and Honda Acura Fan Site boards and secret file trading boards eventually turned to the subject of his performance, which lead to Google, which led them all to my little server.

I'll put the video back up in a week or so, as soon as the Farkers move back to boobies.

If you can find the song "Radio, Radio" please have a listen.

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It's been a while since I'd been farked. Through some coincidence I had called my ISP to fix a billing problem with my credit card, and I thought I'd find out how my bandwidth was doing. Since I'm a friend of theirs I think they give me a little bit of extra rope with this stuff, but we both couldn't believe what we were seeing when we saw my stats for the past day.

Anyway, if you're wondering why www.torrez.org is off, it's because I'm doing some cleaning up.

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Annoyed by my local Carl's Jr. drive-thru giving me a BBQ Chicken Sandwich instead of the Six-Dollar Burger I ordered, I wrote them an email. The response was:

"I assure you that every effort is being made to correct this situation. I have contacted the District Manager regarding your experience."
Okay, that's nice of you...

"I would like to invite you to give us one more chance, on us! I am mailing you some Second Chance coupons good for either a free Famous Star Hamburger or a BBQ Chicken Sandwich. I know there is really nothing that can excuse or make up for the situation you described, but we would love the chance to regain your trust."

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We measure milliseconds in metric but not seconds. There are no millimiles or decafeet. This is all I've been thinking about at work today.

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I just bought a copy of the Safari plugin Saft.

In addition to ridding Safari of the brushed metal look, changing what the search box searches, and putting type-ahead searching in the browser, Saft will also restore all the windows you were viewing when Safari crashes. It also does a lot more.

$10 is cheap for this type of functionality. Plus the nag screen is annoying.

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Dear Flickr API,
You said you'd call. I wrote you a request for an API key and so far nothing. I thought things were going well. I even signed up for a pro account and joined the Flickr API discussion list in good faith. I fired off my API request and nothing.

I really like you. Please call.

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http://www.onemilliondads.com/currentissue.asp
http://www.onemillionmoms.com/currentissue.asp
http://www.onemillionyouth.com/currentissue.asp

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Are people this removed from reality that:
A. they think God is talking to them and..
B. God talks to them using bullet points?

"I mean, the Lord told me it was going to be A, a disaster, and B, messy," Robertson said. "I warned him about casualties."

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TypePad is currently being inundated with trackback spam and I'm swatting them as fast as they pop up. This is why you should have the source to your blogging tool. I think I need to go back to MT.

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44<p> I finally dropped the money to buy a copy of BBEdit 8. If you’re going to be buying it, check out the last paragraph on this page for details on how to get it cheaper. </p>

After I installed it, I got rid of that awful icon and replaced it with this non-crappy one over at Hicks Design.

I never understood why everyone was so hot for BBEdit. When I first switched to the Macintosh I was surprised to find out that BBEdit was the best text editor there was. It was ugly and had way too many options (Bare Bones?) to keep track of. It took about a year of trying out other editors—SubEthaEdit lasted for half a year before I got tired of the search command not working correctly. Plus nobody wanted to edit files with me. :(

But when version 8 was released I decided to give BBEdit another chance and I'm glad I did. This morning I needed a regex to re-validate some data coming through a form I'd written. I had previously been allowing anything through and now had a giant text file of both bad and good data. I was able to write a regex "live" in my editor and watch the data filter through. It only took about three revisions and I had a regex (and the data) available to be stuffed back into the database.

From there I was able to copy and paste my expression into the PHP script and it worked.

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There's that old adage about politically charged times producing great works of art. I think these two videos are interesting not just because of their subject, but how the artist chose to present it.

Pirates & Emperors - at first I thought someone had unearthed a never-before seen episode of Schoolhouse Rock.
Barry Says - propaganda rendered to look like communist propaganda. It's very pretty.

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Originally uploaded by b0.

For a few weeks now I have been seeing these posters at an intersection on my way to work. At least, I realize now these are the posters. It seems like every few days these go up, and then someone immediately tears them down (or tries to). I figure there have been about five postings/tear downs so far.

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This is a cute little record player for the Mac. Go ahead, download it and drop an old .mp3 on it. Be sure and grab the player's arm and move it.

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I've been waiting for Delicious Library since I first saw the previews. They've opened up the site a bit and provided a bit more information about the company as well as the product. This screenshot really says it all, though.

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Matt's added a neat feature to his very successful PVRBlog. Ask PVRBlog is a place for readers to send in their PVR-related questions, as well as a place for PVR pros to offer their advice.

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I have posted the beginnings of the Dropcash API to Dropcash. So far I have the XML feed, the official Dropcash badge, and several plugins for TextPattern, ColdFusion, MovableType, and Gordon Luk's C# COM Object.

The actual API is coming, I am home sick today and thought I'd clear off a few maintenance items that have been calling my name. Be sure and support those developers who have made plugins for you to use.

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I'm searching for a domain for something and I ended up at DeletedDomains. Real domains that recently expired.

While I was looking I saw these...

  1. trynot.com - Yoda hate site?
  2. camgurl.org - How awesome would it be to put yourname@camgurl.org on your resume?
  3. askrobin.com - Know any opinionated guys/girls named Robin?
  4. colorple.com - Finally, a word that rhymes with 'purple'
  5. cpupower.com - Eh.
  6. cpuvault.com - Eh.
  7. dickworm.com - I'm praying this was Richard Worm's home page on the Internet and not a failed tubgirl.
  8. easysoap.com - If you sell soap, I guess...go nuts.
  9. forsakin.com - "Dude, our band's domain name is finally available!"
  10. garysart.com - Unfortunately Gary's art was painting teapots with his own semen.
  11. hellboyz.com - "Dude, our car club's domain name is finally available!"
  12. inetnazi.com - Not so much.
  13. mediwire.com - Medical stuff, I guess.
  14. nameshit.com - I remember when you couldn't register domains with bad words in them.
  15. newstuph.com - Lirn new stuph at newstuph.com, like spellean all kraizy-like.
  16. nicsnuts.com - A bit like Gary's art.
  17. nutriflo.com - This seems like it should be something but I don't know what.
  18. nwflarts.com - I'm going to guess North West Florida Arts, but then again, I haven't had a good flart in a while.
  19. orangeon.com - "Knock, knock." "Who's there?" "Orange!" Oh nevermind, that's stupid...
  20. pickapig.com - Ya see, you pick yer own pig.
  21. scionnow.com - You bought a Scion and nobody came to your website because nobody else bought a Scion.
  22. tdkgames.com - Someone should tell these jokesters.
  23. warmhits.com - "Dude, our bong-making-company domain is available!"

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If anyone can help answer this I would be eternally grateful.

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I sometimes query friends for feedback on my projects, but sometimes they are busy or aren't online. I decided to start a Google Group for those of us who make these kinds of sites to get support. A place for anyone with a new site idea to come and get feedback or help out others who are trying to launch a site.

As I state on the group's charter: A group dedicated to those of us who build web sites in our spare time for fun or profit. Discuss new ideas, feasibility, and get or give help to others.

The Making Stuff Google Group.

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Alan of Kokogiak has launched a new version of Amazon Lite. This one takes advantage of the new Amazon 4.0 web services but also features some pretty cool tools. Each product page has a list of tools that allow you to make a Dropcash campaign, mail a link via Gmail, post the link to your Blogger page, add the page to your Del.icio.us links, and depending on the type of media, look up the book at the library, find the movie on Netflix, or find the artist in iTunes.

Those tools are great, but the one that got me most excited is the local library lookup. I don't use my library enough, and having that option right before I buy another book from Amazon is perhaps the coolest thing I've seen all year.

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Mindersalbum Well, new to me at least. Been listening to The Minders (hit play in the bottom left corner), Tullycraft and I finally got the re-release of Jawbreaker's "Dear You" after having only Sluttering (May 4th) to go by for a few years now.

I also picked up the Exploding Hearts, which were a band I had only heard about because of a small article in Rolling Stone Magazine a while back. While picking through the racks at Amoeba I remembered the story and figured if they were good enough for Lookout! they were good enough for me. So I bought it and I'm not the least bit disappointed. They probably weren't the greatest band ever, but I'm pretty glad I have this album. It's good.

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Traffic Gauge Holy crap. I am seriously ordering this.

One of the difficult things about leaving for work in the morning is making the choice between the 605 and the 405—as well as knowing if a slowdown is going to take 5 minutes or 30. If you drive in LA for any length of time you know there are phantom slowdowns that make you feel like you got ripped-off as there is no burning wreckage or dancing penguins at the end of it.

Having the ability to route around a problem on a map, either via surface streets or a different freeway, is much easier than trying to catch the traffic reports.

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I saw the Pixies last night at the Greek Theater in Berkeley. It was hot but once the show started I forgot about the heat. Great show, great sound (when it was working), lots of nice people who really loved the Pixies, and a great Indian dinner afterward with friends.

Since the concert was above the UC campus we had to walk through the north end of it and I got to see parts of the campus I hadn't seen in nearly 13 years. It's definitely been cleaned up and buildings that had been hidden behind ivy have been landscaped and painted. It made me wish I had finished college.

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Probably nitpicking, but I just noticed that when I mouse over the built-in Google search box in Safari I get a poorly worded (?) tool-tip.

A couple other people noticed it too. That seems like a pretty big bug to just miss.

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I am currently in San Francisco visiting friends and waiting for my flight back on Tuesday. The bartender at the bar down the road noticed that my drivers license was expiring today (my birthday) and I realized that attempting to fly with an expired license was probably a bad idea. (Terrorist are notorious procrastinators. It's a fact.)

While waiting for my giant, bingo-like number to be called—G241—I had time to think about the last time I renewed my license. It was my birthday and I didn't have a house. I hadn't created FilePile. I hadn't written five years worth of code at work or solved five years worth of problems. I lived in the heart of LA and spent Sundays on the floor picking through the LA Times while I drank coffee.

I was 27 and had recently made a bit of money by cashing in some stock. Life was pretty good and I remember feeling like my future was still pretty wide open. Lot's of people were pretty optimistic.

Of course, life got even better. It keeps getting better. There's a bit of excitement when your number gets close...G237...G239...G240...

When I'm 37 and it's my birthday, and I've forgotten to renew my license again, I just know I'll be at the DMV, smiling at how fortunate I've been.

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That was quick. I switched back to NetNewsWire after just a few hours with it. Nice and light-weight, hooray Ranchero.

As a plus, because I own a license for NetNewsWire, Ranchero gave me a license for MarsEdit as well. This is my first test of that software.

Update: seemed to work okay. I like the integration with NNW and BBEdit, so I'll probably keep using this.

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I was seriously addicted to Encyclopedia Brown stories when I was a kid. Someone brought up the books on a discussion board, and I was amazed that I could still remember the ending explanations.

"How can he know the knife was short if it was still buried in the watermelon?"

"He was punched in the chest yet he put his glasses on right after the bully ran away!"

"The happy baby is dancing on a hot car hood that was just driven for hours."

"The guitarist without pads on the tips of his fingers is the fake. Guitarists develop calluses on the tips of their fingers after years of playing."

Were you a fan, and can you still remember the endings?

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Dropload Hits 55,000 users. That's a lot of people.

Jon has pretty much taken administration duties over there and added lots of neat features which I think has added to the growth. You can see the files you've dropped and are given the chance of resending the file in case it wasn't picked up by the receiver.

When I first came up with the idea for Dropload it was because I couldn't trade files with my friend Sean over AIM. The trick about coming up with web ideas is (I think)–when faced with something you can't do in your daily work–rather than solve the problem for yourself, solve it for others as well. But don't get bogged down in the implementation because you can architect the greatest Dropload web app of all time and very few will be able to use it or understand it or care.

RSS used to be like that until people were educated and the little orange XML buttons disappeared (or at least don't give you XML when you click them). PGP is definitely like that. I would very much like to solve the PGP problem because I think it's something people don't know they need. If there's an idea there, it'll present itself I think. Sorry to ramble.

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I had been meaning to set up PGP for Mail.app for a while now. PGP is another one of those concepts that has always been out of reach of the average user. Only two people who regularly email me use PGP, and they're both programmers.

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Most of you won't know what a Wiki is, and even more of you probably won't ever find out.

A Wiki is, in the simplest terms, a web application for organizing documents that is usually open for editing by all. You can start here if you want to learn more about them. There are various Wikis written in everything from PHP to Ruby to PERL. After installing many Wikis over the years, I finally feel like I found one that is very nearly perfect for my personal notets. I say "nearly" because it's still sub 1.0 and has a few important features to be added.

Instiki is written in Ruby and shares the simplicity of that language. It also includes Markdown formatting which makes teaching someone how to mark-up pages a breeze.

Instiki seems to pride itself on the "there's no third step" simplicity of installation, and it's true. I was able to get it running on my Mac, Linux, and FreeBSD machines in only two steps (download, run script). I customized it further by running it through ProxyPass in Apache so I get nice clean URLs, but that's not necessary, it's just nice.

If you had considered using Wikis before, but couldn't get past the installation or the odd formatting requirements, I suggest you check out Instiki.

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Dear Andre Torrez, Thank you for referring young entreprenuer sister to PayPal. Because young entreprenuer sister just signed up for a Premier or Business PayPal account, you are now eligible to receive a Merchant Referral Bonus. Here's how it works: As soon as young entreprenuer sister has used PayPal to receive a total of $200.00 USD in payments, you will receive your initial bonus of $1.00 USD, which will be deposited directly into your PayPal account.

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A few weeks ago I bought a Dymo label printer for mailing things, I have 150 jewelboxes from JewelBoxing.com, and I have several hundred CD-Rs.

What could I do that isn't illegal?

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David Rayners wrote a MovableType Dropcash plugin and then held it for ransom through Dropcash until he raised $30. Though his PayPal account is new, and he couldn't accept the payments to reflect on his Dropcash page, he released his plugin as soon as he hit $30.

Chad Everett did something similar with a feature for his MT-Notifier plugin. </p>

I think it's a great way for people to get paid for their work for specific things, rather than general tip-jars that nobody seems to ever want to drop money into.

Also, Dropcash was mentioned in this Guardian story. Along with some words from me.

I've never used the word 'appeals' in that context. Strange how it showed up in there. Also, you don't need a TypePad blog to be able to raise money, just a TypeKey account and Jason Kottke co-created it with me.

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This is cool: a simple PHP parser for Dropcash's XML feed. Dropcash Parser written by Matt Warren lets you display your Dropcash campaigns in any manner you wish.

Also, and I bet this wasn't obvious to people, but you can set up your own Dropcash page by copying the <form> tags and placing them on your own site. Keep the IPN information in-tact and PayPal will continue to ping the correct server. Change the "thank you" page variable to your own page and now nobody will even know you are running a Dropcash campaign.

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This story about Black Triangle sightings reminded me of the late 80's when people were talking about this new fighter plane that we later found out was the F-117 Stealth Fighter. It hadn't been publicly shown, and there were many reports of people spotting these planes doing all sorts of weird things in the air.

It turned out my town was under the flight path of the Stealth Fighter as it supposedly flew between Edwards AFB and Nellis AFB, and I remember seeing them float past our back yard just a few thousand (?) feet in the air. I can't really judge the distance of planes, but through the lens of my camcorder I remember being able to see them quite clearly.

One day of the planes that sticks out the most was when something like 20 of them (or was it just a couple screwing with us?) flew over our town in a stream, about one every 2 minutes. From the south you'd see them drop from the sky just as they entered the city limits, and then slowly float the length of the town, dragging a small hum of a jet engine behind them. Once they reached county line road, they'd head up into the clouds and disappear.

A few months after that day one crashed in the Tehachapi mountains outside of Bakersfield, and more information began to leak out about the planes. When the military finally released photos and information it was obvious what we had been seeing. Since then I've seen a couple of F-117's fly over sporting events—but it really never compares to the day when I saw them and they were unidentifiable and unconfirmed.

found on Kottke

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Regarding the Ozarks Literacy Council badge test below, they have less than 24 hours to raise money to replace that window. More from Dave Adams:

This particular fundraising need comes at a tough time. OLC receives United Way funds, and to get them, it must halt all fundraising activity during the United Way recruiting period, which begins on Wednesday, September 1 and lasts two months. So we will have to end the fundraising at that time. So if you are considering giving, know that you have to make the donation right away. Thanks again everyone!

If you have a few extra dollars sitting in your PayPal account, consider going to the OLC Campaign and help them out.

ps, breaking $2000 for Dropcash would make me happy too. :)

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ManyBooks.net: "This site contains more than 10,000 eBooks from Project Gutenberg and other sources, formatted for reading on your Palm, PocketPC, Zaurus, Rocketbook, or PDA."

They even have an RSS feed for their Recent Additions.

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(props to jason for making them so pretty. more on how to make them later, or if you're an enterprising soul, try it out)

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Here are two external blogs to keep you updated on Dropload and DropCash.

We had a small outage today with DropCash's TypeKey scripts, and now that Dropload has been getting a ton of use it has a lot more issues and needs a place to put updates. Jon at LagParty has been taking care of a lot of the site issues and doing support for Dropload, so it just made sense to start a blog to notify users. They also needed to be offsite during server downtime so Blogger was an obvious choice.

Oh and happy birthday, Blogger.

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From: PayPal
Subject: PayPal Merchant Referral Bonus
Date: August 20, 2004 12:37:27 PM PDT
To: Andre Torrez

Dear Andre Torrez,
Thank you for referring Xxxxx Xxxxxxx to PayPal. Because Xxxxx Xxxxxxx just signed up for a Premier or Business PayPal account, you are now eligible to receive a Merchant Referral Bonus.

As soon as Xxxxx Xxxxxxx has used PayPal to receive a total of $200.00 USD in payments, you will receive your initial bonus of $1.00 USD, which will be deposited directly into your PayPal account

I did not know that. I think that's a little low. I'm not complaining, they could give 50¢ and I probably wouldn't care, but I think as an incentive that's not a very good one.

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This is why I wanted to make Dropcash. Tom of WSMF is raising money to buy some wireless routers to put on top of some apartments to provide free wireless access as part of The Personal Telco Project.

Sure, Tom could have thrown up a link directly to PayPal and started collecting money that way, updating the campaign's progress on his site when he could. But now there's a landing page for his campaign so people can keep checking in on the progress in real-time, and that is pretty cool.

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I had another idea for a site, this one's called DropCash and it was really a group effort. First, Jason designed the pages and did a lot of the thinking about how to present the screens and information to people so it made sense. Then I implemented the TypeKey authentication service so people wouldn't have to remember ANOTHER password/email/user combo (and I wouldn't have to build one). And finally it all rides on top of the excellent PayPal API.

I usually build sites by myself and then open them up for people to comment on them, but this time I tried to spread the work out as much as possible and I'm much happier with the result. I didn't let the project die on my hard-drive like so many other ideas I have.

If you'd like to see a better demonstration of how DropCash does its thing, head over to Gominosensei's site for a more detailed explanation.

Finally, and I'm not joking, here is what is being said about DropCash in this picture:
Me: "I can't figure out why nobody had done this yet."
Jeffrey: "So will you make any money?"
Me: "No."
Jeffrey: "That's why."

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My friend Mat just showed me this: Report: iMovie strips FairPlay DRM from iTunes songs. I just did it with a song I bought off of iTunes a couple days ago, and it worked with only one hitch. Exporting as AIFF made a 38 meg file which had to be ran through iTunes to get it to a manageable size.

It's easier to use Hymn, but this would do in a pinch.

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My Tivo keeps track of what I watch, creating a profile of me to sell to marketers. Web sites keep track of me, creating a profile of what I look at to sell to marketers. I think because I am always aware of these facts it bleeds into other things I consume.

A few days ago I was scanning through the stations on my radio when I hit upon some talk radio bullcrap about the war. When I realized what was being said on the station my hand reached for the dial, my brain instinctively telling me I didn't want any marketing data being recorded about that.

The more my

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Larry from OWC responded to this post and we have exchanged emails. While I understand that Benjamin and Larry believe that some spammer happened to pluck that address (or guessed after not having ever guessed my other instant aliases), I think to immediately dismiss the possibility that someone culled some addresses from their database is unfair. Because email is broken does not mean their security isn't. How many reports has Benjamin ignored because he believes there is no chance their database has been compromised?

Two people brought up the fact that I was putting my macsales.com email address in the wild by posting it to my site. If you do a view-source you'll see that I encoded it using HiveWare's Enkoder Form. No bot is reading my address off that page.

I'm not saying there isn't a chance the email address wasn't found in a log file somewhere along the line. I'm not even saying someone didn't hack into my Mac and find that address. I wrote OWC/MacSales.com because I had a problem, and all I got in return was spelling mistakes and assurances I was completely and absolutely wrong.

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About a year ago I purchased a keyboard cover from MacSales.com for my laptop to protect the screen while in transit. Like any purchase on the web, I gave MacSales.com my email address. On friday that email address was sent spam telling me I had won $50,000.

The reason I know this is an email address I gave MacSales.com is because I make up a new address every time I sign up for something. So for example, had I signed up at foo.com for some new foos, the address I would have given them is . MacSales.com was given .

Fast-forward a year and I receive this in my inbox:

From: nipsbrown1996@yahoo.com
Subject: You have won $50,000
Date: July 23, 2004
To:

Welcome to Nipps Brown,
We are pleased to inform you of the result of the eBay Online Winners programs held on the 28th of January 2004. Your e-mail address attached to ticket number 843-543075 drew lucky SEQUENCE NO.: 81210719 which consequently won in the 2nd category. You might have been approved for a lump sum pay out of US$ 50,000.00 (Fifty Thousand United States Dollars).

So I emailed MacSales.com to tell them my address had been picked off their user table. What was the reply? Spammers are getting smart. Benjamin Priest responded:

Hi

We do not sell email address, Spamers are getting very good at taking a email address and running hundreds of thousands of variations of this in a mass spam. Or using software to grab email address out of cyberspace.

We do all we can to prevent spam and help the mac comunity stop spaming, I can asure you this was not from OWC.

Sincerely
Benjamin Priest

</blockquote>

I couldn't care less if you do all you can to "help the mac comunity". If someone has proof that your user accounts are being skimmed you should do something about it rather than pass it off to smart spammers being smart. He 'asures' me it wasn't from OWC, but if 'spamers' are grabbing email addresses out of cyberspace, doesn't that mean OWC is sending my address in cleartext somewhere?

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Fast Busy does two very cool things. First it aggregates all the apartments posted to Craig's List, then it plots a graph showing volume versus price. May in Haight Ashbury seems like a good time to have looked for a place.

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This programmer I used to work with had a fascination with |<rispy |<reme donuts. Tonight he sent me a dozen of his favorites converted to icons saying, "my goal is get my whole dock to be nothing but donuts".

Download donuts_vol1.sit

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The new Roombas were announced today. The coolest feature being the ability for the Roomba (named "Discovery") to drive back to its base station and re-charge itself. Current owners of Roomba were given the ability to pre-order and get theirs first, but I think I'll wait.

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Another robot found today: the RoboMower®. I don't think my neighbors need to see how lazy or geeky I am.

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I found this nice menu bar app called a "FuzzyClock" on a Gizmodo post about WordClocks.

I installed it, not expecting much, and found myself glancing at it more often than the built-in clock. There is something about words versus numbers that keeps my eye looking no further than "quarter to twelve".

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I got caught up in the iTunes contest and ended up buying an album song-by-song during the 100,000,000 mark. Using these two sites as indicators of when it was going to happen.

I think I got close since my purchases were spread out during the 5 minute update interval. Mat pointed out that it was fortuitous that the switch happened on the eve of MacWorld where they could announce the 100,000,000 mark—as well as the 50,000 song sales sales in the span of about 10 minutes.

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Before the weekend started I realized I had lost my GameBoy Advance and about six games. I replaced the GBA with a new Classic NES styled one and Final Fantasy Tactics to get me started.

I just ordered a GBA linker so that I can make backups of all my games in the future. This also, of course, gives me the ability to download games from the Internet to my GBA and play them for free. I probably will do it.

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I love it when I read things that make me nod my head even though nobody can see me nodding my head and then later when I write a little entry on my website I can mention that I was nodding my head and not be lying about it.

What I was nodding my head about.

I stopped writing my silly anecdotes and fake diatribes because they were invariably taken wrong by people who didn't know me at all. And that golden period where I was making all sorts of great friends (and fans) ended when people started mailbombing me and CCing Jeffrey Zeldman (!) when mailing me hate mail for some weird reason. So I tried to jump from egoist to pundit (and failed) and then to some sort of music diarist (and failed) and now I think I'm some sort of quasi-linking-pundit with no real opinions about anything.

Now all my friendships live in AIM or gmail, and I may subscribe to a few new blogs every month, but I rarely feel the desire to make new friends via blogs.

I have to say there's some little part of why FilePile is closed that's related to this as well. Everyone wants a place they can go to hang out and feel like they're amongst friends (notice how I didn't mention the "Cheers" song). I'm grateful that FilePile exists for us and I can't imagine what I'd do if it didn't. If FilePile were like Metafilter, all open and accessible to anyone, we'd miss out on so many of the personal stories and triumphs that bubble up through the ratings system. I have been nearly moved to tears over the death of piler's dogs or celebrated another birth or marriage of a piler with 2500 of my friends. I don't get that with blogs anymore.

Some years ago, we (and I mean 'we' who were seeking online communities), used to dial into several BBSs and juggle friends and meet up for coffee or pizza to trade diskettes or printouts because some of us were on 2400 baud modems (if you don't know how slow that is, you don't want to know), and then the Internet rolled on the scene and for a time we could maintain the smallness of these communities because it was still a bit of work to connect, much less have anything to say once you were connected (see CUSeeMe).

My point that I'm stumbling towards is I think a private blog, a private mailing list, a private community site is where I want to be right now. It's where I mainly exist these days and it's where I can be me—without Jeffrey Zeldman's knowledge.

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Andy points to a program called FairKeys which is used to return your FairPlay keys from the Apple server.

Pretty cool, but what's also cool is that Jon wrote it in C# which, because of the recent release of Mono, means I can compile and run this thing thing on my Mac. I played with Mono a few days ago and was able to compile nearly all my classes that I had written previously to jumping to the Mac.

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I used to be a boyscout— in fact, I think I still am one. The whole "be prepared" thing is real and stuck with me as I became an

So I've slowly begun preparing for something. I bought a little Chevy S10 and plan to sell my 2002 Jetta. I am ditching my DirecTV service and home phone. The truck will help me finish up the remaining things that have to be done to my house before I can sell it.

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I've gone Netflix crazy over the past couple of weeks—stepping up to the 5 DVDs at a time plan. I've nearly finished the first series of "24", and I have been slowly building a queue of documentaries I've missed over the past couple of years. I don't live in the sort of neighborhood where very many documentaries are available for rent, so I tend to buy a lot of them when renting would do.

I just downloaded Netflix Freak, which provides you with a Mac Cocoa interface instead of the web interface. So far the only advantage I can see is that I can drag and drop my queue.

Added Hacking Netflix's RSS feed as well.

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The new MacOS pictures are starting to filter out, and one of them appears to show something called a Dashboard. Ignoring for a moment that the "Dashboard" name and new look are pretty non-Mac looking and sounding, and are more likely faked, I do hope Apple is coming out with a widget system like Konfabulator or Stattoo.

I spent some time fidding with Konfabulator and actually made a pretty cool little clock with the help of an artist friend.

But annoyingly, the folks at Konfabulator keep a pretty tight grip on the program that lets you run the widgets, and so getting friends to use my work meant asking them to pay for Konfabulator. Arlo and Perry can charge whatever they want for their stuff, I'm all for capitalism, but I stopped wanting to make anything with their program. There really should have been a better development offer for people making their widgets. I would have been happy receiving a couple of free registrations to hand out to my friends since my widget was included in the gallery.

So now if Apple goes and eats their lunch it's too bad, but it'll mean I can go back to developing these micro-applications.

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My prized possession as a kid was a sticker from a series of bubble gum packs featuring characters from the TV show Happy Days. The sticker had a picture of Potsie (Anson Williams) smiling at the camera with the phrase "Here Come Potsie!" as a title.

For some reason this resonated with me. In my mind everything

So, stuffed in a box with Garbage Pail Kids, Wacky Packs,

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I can vouch for this Mac application. Works like a champ. gCount sits in my menubar and tells me how many new messages I have. Very simple.

Dropload passed the 35k user mark.

My boss is quitting to go to TBWA. One of the most non-web people in my department is now finding a new manager for me by hiring his friend.

"Non-web" is a phrase my boss and I used to toss around when discussing people in our department and clients. A production person who hadn't heard of WaSP was "non-web". A programmer who rolls his own blogging CMS is very "web" (however foolish that might be. Hi, Riggs!). A flash programmer who can't tell you how the OBJECT/EMBED tag soup works is not very web at all. Our latest clients, the ones who said, "Make it XHTML strict!" are frightfully web.

The thing that plagued this company for so long was that there were so few "web" people working in the online department that we'd miss great opportunities because everyone was so concerned with how nice the site looked versus how well it could be maintained or how it worked. We've got lots of pretty sites in our portfolio that companies sloughed off like a dead skin when it came time to extend it.

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  1. Boss is away. Yay. Before she left she sent me an email that she only asssigned me "one FogBugz item to fix!" That FogBugz item contains about 10 changes to the CMS that are pretty unrelated. :)
  2. Cory's talk at MSFT on the subject of DRM is a must-read today.
  3. Mat Honan started a Mac blog. The url is currently http://mac.honan.net.hg.sabren.com but he says that will change to mac.honan.net later. From now on call him "Mac"
  4. Kokogiak redesigned. It's very pretty.

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There's a Roomba mailing-list I'm on and someone remarked how his berber carpet wasn't being cleaned as well as he had hoped. Someone on the list replied with a good description of what Roomba excels at, and what it doesn't work so well with. I couldn't find a direct link that wasn't roadblocked, so for a few of you who have contacted me about how well it works can read this.

Roomba's primary function on carpet is as a sweeper. I will not get to dirt that is buried with any depth in the pile. The vacuum relies upon intimate contact with a solid surface and the squeegee flaps and the seal that produces. This 'Seal' cannot be created with rugs, hi-low-or almost no pile. Think of the Roomba as a sweeper on rugs and a sweeper/vacuum on hard floor surfaces.

The Roomba is an extremely competent sweeper however due to the nature of its motor powered high RPM brushes. The vacuum action is pretty effective on hard flooring as per dust and fine debris.

Hopefully in future Roombas they will find a way to produce really powerful vacuum action to work alongside the sweeper action. Producing a powerful vacuum while keeping battery drain to a minimum will be quite an engineering problem.

Some people look at hand vacs like the 'Black and Decker Dust Buster' as ask why can't iRobot make the Roomba as powerful as that?

The Dust Buster and battery powered hand vacs like that are deceptive. First, you will notice that the Dust Buster has a small inlet area. This is not too much different that the concept behind the squeegee flaps on the Roomba. The Dust Buster can get a lot of vacuum action in the small inlet area and it is still effective because this is a spot cleaning tool under human control so you place it in the small areas that need cleaning under the control of human guidance. Even with all that brain power, cleaning a full room with such a small inlet would be a pain by a human.

Secondly, the Dust Buster is designed to only run for approximately 10 minutes so they can suck plenty of current for a short period to run a powerful motor and large impeller. The Roomba could not be effective with a total run time of only 10 minutes. In addition the Roomba power pack must produce energy to power the drive system and brushes too. So getting enough power to produce a powerful vacuum and run the Roomba is a real engineering problem.

I believe that the only way to make a Roomba that is as competent a vacuum as it is a sweeper is to switch to a Lithium Ion power source and consider using rare earth magnet motors.

Lithium packs can probably be made with enough capacity to do the job and still maintain a reasonable size and weight profile. This is of course only a guess based upon my own experience with consumer products and some small knowledge of battery technology.

If iRobot is willing to produce a really rugged Roomba with this technology and capability it will probably be a gamble because the cost will be high and after so may people having negative experiences with the Roomba the early adopters that are traditionally your best way to spread word of mouth may NOT be willing to take a chance again.

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So it's probably no secret that I'm trying different ways of making money on the web. I'm actively working on several projects, I'm putting advertisments on dropload, as well as here (partly just to see how the system works, partly to pay for a newspaper one Sunday a month).

Most of my ideas involve Amazon (unfortunately) or subscriptions (unfortunately) or that idealistic free-until-later web application idea that only works in every programmers brain and rarely anywhere else.

Jon Gruber is trying something, too—I was one of the first to jump at it and I love the unique RSS url I received for signing up. There's an idea right there for an MT plugin: unique RSS feed keys and reports. Or for a whole business providing reporting and syndication subscriptions for content providers.

The problem I think for me is that the ideas come pretty fast and furious. 95% suck and 5% slightly suck. I really need to work on polishing that 5% and getting behind it enough to put myself out there and not be afraid to fail.

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I think my neighborhood just crossed a milestone. I while waiting for my DSL to be re-installed (!) I was fooling with my Airport base station when I noticed a new wireless access point pop up in KisMac.

Named simply "Gondar" (the name of the street one block over) I attempted to connect to it but was rebuffed with a WEP password requirement. Still, I was excited to finally see WiFi finally showing up in my neighborhood.

For the past week I've been living in a "deadzone", with no DSL and lots of friendly (!) Verizon technicians telling me the problem must be the wiring in my house. It turned out someone accidentally switched my phone number with someone else's phone number while installing a phone in my neighborhood. So for about a week I've had someone else's number and no DSL.

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google_globe<p> I had a chance to see this globe when I visited Google earlier this month. Like the updating search terms in the Google lobby, the globe is very much a “oh neat” type thing. </p>

The colors represent the languages being searched and the height of each beam relates to activity. There's a legend just off to the side that tells you what language is what. You can zoom in and rotate the globe in a number of directions.

Oh Neat.

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I'm a big fan of any song or cycle of songs that are carried on through the years and build upon each other. Lyrics swapped, and spun around to play with the years of use and meaning that preceeded it.

I wrote a bit about Stagger Lee and its versions a few years ago, and always intended on learning more about St. James Infirmary after reading about it in Deep Blues.

Rob Walker has written a very fine and detailed story about St. James Infirmary in his Letter From New Orleans section on his site.

I'll try and dig a version of the song up, I remember hearing the White Stripes do it, but I can't remember if they really messed with the structure and just sampled bits like the Clash did with "Stagger Lee" on "Wrong 'Em Boyo".

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When did I stop trusting people so much? Somewhere in between the time I gave some guy $20 on a Berkeley street because he had "missed his bus back to Oklahoma" and when a plumber told me my pipes would last me only a few more months before I’d have to pay "thousands in repair bills" (that was 4 years ago)&#8212somewhere between there I just flat out stopped trusting anyone I didn’t know who wanted money from me.

Before I went on my SF trip the manager of the VW service department came to me and said, with eyes reflecting the painful worry in his heart, "You’re Going To Die If You Don't Get These Tires Replaced Today". A second opinion from another shop was, "Eh, you have at least 10,000 more miles on them. Probably more." My 600 mile trip to SF turned out fine.

Verizon, for four days now, has offered a different reason as to why I haven't had DSL or phone service. They've all been terribly friendly about it, "It's probably a bad cordless phone, unplug and see what happens!" or "It looks like it's fixed! The computer says the line is good!" even though I'd get home and it would not be fixed. But for some reason I kept trusting them.

Each Verizon character seemed to be more friendly and more of an authority than the previous character. This morning's character was a gentle old man who featured a Canadian accent. He calmly explained what the problem could be ("Oh, the previous technician didn't tell you about that? I will make sure she knows aboot it…") and promised me he could have a person on-site by tomorrow.

I already decided I'm going to cancel my DSL and phone service and go with a cable modem and my cell phone, but because I've been paying for inside wire insurance for so long I'm going to make them come down and fix whatever problem exists.

Totally unrelated post-script: our IT department has named our two most recently installed printers "Blink 182" and "Outkast". This is pretty much the beginning of the end, I'd say.

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I bought an iRobot Roomba Vacuum Pro Elite a couple of days ago and I have to say, so far it's exceeded my expectations. The thing is a champ at cleaning carpets and hardwood floors, and the geek side of me gets to stand around and watch it learn what a coffee table leg is and encircle it.

While I don't have to do the actual vacuuming anymore, it takes longer to complete the job. The robot spends some time back-tracking and repeating areas. And before I can even start I have to complete clear the room of cords and stray items, something I could do on the fly while vacuuming before.

In 3 years I will probably look back on today and laugh that I woke up at 7am so I could vacuum my living room.

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Elias Torres (no relation) runs a site over on torrez.us. A few weeks ago he wrote a tray app called Gtray that notifies you when you have new gmail. Go try it out if you're a windows user.

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I spent the weekend in San Francisco and hung out a with a few friends. After last month's project I needed a couple days to myself in another city I could easily explore, so SF seemed like the natural choice. I spent a large part of it by myself just walking until I felt like turning and walking in a different direction. I even spent some of my nights programming. I turned the television off, ordered up a hefty room service bill, and wrote some code I'd been meaning to write. It amazed me how much I could churn out, and I think in the future I'll make another trip like this if I ever need to get a lot of work done.

I have a couple of friends who work at Google, so on my drive back to Long Beach I had a chance to eat lunch (in the Google cafeteria of course) with Kevin and Brian--after Brian graciously walked me around the offices and showed me all sorts of cool Google things that I have no idea if I'm allowed to talk about since I signed some long agreement that I didn't read when I got my badge. I'm sure the agreement covered that alien life-form with wires coming out of its brain I saw in the basement, and not the butcher paper with the search engine's build history and milestones, but I'm not prepared to take that risk.

Google was a very interesting place. Nobody appeared to be in a hurry or stressed, and as we walked towards the cafeteria I noticed everyone walked like they were on a stroll through a park, like we were going to see a band play (which, there actually was for part of lunch). I had kind of expected Google to be like a college, but very little of it is like any college I've seen.

The free food was the most noticable difference. There seemed to be food around every corner. Bins of nuts and cookies, specialty sodas (a couple days ago I had paid $7 for) were available for free. Maybe because it was lunch and I was hungry, but I kept seeing (free) food, (free) food, (free) food.

But it wasn't excessive in a dot-com way. Each of the conveniences were there to remove that stress from your work day. The cafeteria, the on-site doctor, the day-care, the free food. I always thought working at home would be the ultimate way to work stress free, but I can see now after my time in my hotel room and my tour of Google that I just need a better work environment at work.

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Two years ago I wrote about Elvis Costello's performance of Radio, Radio on SNL. My friend Benny just found the video for me and I thought I'd offer it here for download.

Elvis Costello - Radio, Radio (SNL) (36 megs)

Also, as a side-note, that bass Bruce Thomas is playing is the same styled p-bass I play. For a brief time in the late 70's Fender started putting black pickguards on their blonde and walnut basses and for a brief moment they looked pretty damn cool. Then the 80's came and they fitted them with white again. To further geek out about that bass, if my memory is correct, when the Beastie Boys repeated this performance on the SNL 25th Anniversary, Adam is playing a late 70's butterscotch blonde p-bass just like Bruce did.

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The nice thing about Google is that if you have a tech support problem, you can copy and paste the error and find 10 other people who had the problem. Perfect example is the worst debug message in recent memory, AOL's: feedbag error.

It's a Friday afternoon before a three day weekend so my employer is paying me to mod my desktop with some Unsanity and Panic software while I do my weekly server upgrades.

I just rebooted after some fairly big tweaks, including upgrading to 10.3.4, and I get the error I pasted in my title bar. Related to the Unsanity/Panic stuff? Doubtful. This is the Mail.app, which hasn't been touched. The 10.3.4 upgrade is probably more likely. I just can't seem to find anyone with answers in Google.

Which is why I'm posting. Maybe someone can figure it out. Maybe I'll figure it out and update here. Maybe I shouldn't rely on Google for tech support. Ah well..My dock is SEE-THRU!

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  1. Oh shit! Time to switch to Wordpress!
  2. The Site of Unimaginative City Names - I don't know if "City of Industry, Ca" and "City of Commerce, CA" are clever or unimaginative. Going to City of Industry feels a lot like how the early settlers of Greenland probably felt.
  3. One of my favorite time wasting things to do is search Google for phrases people overuse. Andy linked rap and country today (usually preceeded by, "I love all music...")
  4. Whenever I see a job that mentions "401k" my brain thinks it's a salary. There are so few $401,000 a year jobs these days.
  5. Anil is moving to San Francisco. He says a lot of the things I wish I could say.
  6. Pokey The Penguin used to be the #1 online comic strip on the Internet. He says a lot of the things I wish I could say.

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Remember when you were a kid and you'd put 25¢ into one of those toy machines and get a bubble of plastic containing a toy? Steve Keene Art is kind of like that. Except they're $8 each and you have to wait a week or so to get it. He paints all day and then ships his work out to whoever buys.

I just got my delivery and I'm..well.. they're very pink. Very pink. I am not big on pink. But that's the way it works. You might or might not like it, take your chances.

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For those of you finding my page by searching Google for "gmail" and then coming here and asking me to "invite you into gmail" (it ain't Friendster), I have a site for you. It's called GMail Swap and unlike the crass selling of invites on Ebay, this seems harmless and feels like it fits within the spirit of inviting a friend.

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Today I had the day off from work to attend E3 ("BE SURE TO MARK YOUR TIMESHEETS WITH JOB CODE E3-001!!!") and I thought it might be nice to try taking the LA (cough) transit system to the show. The Blue Line runs from near my house (7 miles away) and drops you off at the Convention Center. Sounds easy!

On my drive to the station I was thinking how cool it was that we had a public transit system that came to my town about 40 miles south of LA. I should start using it more, I thought. I wondered if I could start riding it to work. Maybe I could get a second car and leave it at the station near my office. Or a bike. Why hadn't I ridden it before? I love public transportation!

According to MapQuest the terminal is on a street called "American Way" (har) off Willow. But when I make the turn there is no "American Way" and I spent about 10 minutes driving around an Albertson's grocery store parking lot before I realize that "American Way" is just a tiny side street that dead ends into a parking garage.

I park my car in front of the grocery store and walk to the sign that says Blue Line Terminal. From the sign I can see the actual entrance to the terminal which is about a block a way. As I walk over to the real terminal some kids in the playground next to the platform are yelling at me that their ball has gone over the fence and that they'd like me to toss it back to them. They start every sentence with "Sir" or "Hey Mister" and I smile at the absurdity of calling a guy wearing a headbug shirt "Mister". As I walk it over to the fence one of the kids yells at me to, "Kick it over, faggot!"

"Mister" I can deal with, but "faggot" is so extraordinarily rude I almost want to keep the ball and sit at the terminal with it. I decide I don't need any trouble with fifth graders and toss it over the fence. As I was winding up I was thinking to myself, "don't throw like a faggot, don't throw like a faggot" which, I'm not sure what that means, but I figured I needed to seem "manly". So far this is my day: trying not to seem like a faggot in front of some 5th graders while stradling the American Way.

I cross the tracks and step up onto the platform only to find out that I have a wad of $20's and no small bills. The machine accepts only $1's and $5's and so I realize I have to trek back to the grocery store to break one of my bills. As I cross the rails, the alarm rings that the train is about to arrive. I now have to wait 30 minutes for the next train.

By now it's been nearly thirty minutes since I left my house and I was looking at 30 more minutes until I'd get on the train. The sun was really heating things up and there was hardly any wind blowing. So after waiting in a very long line at the grocery store to buy a pack of gum I have to walk by my car. My car...

It was then that the Los Angeleno in me took over. I am happier in my car. Nobody calls me "faggot" and I can run the A/C until my headbug grows horns. I drove to the Convention Center today thinking, "they should really run those trains more frequently...there'd be less traffic for me".

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It's one thing to see your recent ex-girlfriend's online personal ad on some dating web site...it's a whole other bag of tamales to see it IN THE PAGES OF ESQUIRE MAGAZINE.

It's cool though, we're friends, and I totally support her. Even though I come off as a bad guy for breaking up with her the day before Valentine's Day (which fell on Friday the 13th this year) I don't really mind.

On Friday at 9am she's going to be on the #1 morning radio show in LA discussing the article. So tune in to hear me get beat up on the radio, I guess.

She's cool. I love her. She had more of an influence on my life than any other girlfriend or friend I ever had. I've got my fingers crossed that maybe this will open a door or two for her. She deserves it.

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Saw my family this weekend. As you probably know Gmail handed out accounts for everyone's mother, but my mom uses Safari, so that didn't work like we had hoped. Mom discovered HTML email. Note to Gmail team: Must. Get. Safari. Working. SOON!

Blogger re-launched. I logged into my old account to check out the features and was impressed with how well it is laid out. I'd say you can't compete with free, but that would be unfair to Blogger, free or not it's very well done. Me and Jason had some fun talking about it this morning.

Nobody has mentioned that when the GMail team sends you an email, they reference Mr. McFeely from Mister Rogers by signing it: "Speedy Delivery!"

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Michael pointed out that Carl's Placing.com had fallen into the hands of domain squatters, so I thought I'd check on Freedonia...

Record expires on 03-May-2004.
Record created on 02-May-1995.

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I'm not sure why I opened up TypePad just now, I think I felt like writing but I wasn't sure what I wanted to write about. The project I've been working on for the past five months is nearly over, we're installing in the next few days. I still have a couple of little bugs to fix, but I feel pretty confident they will be simple. I worked 92 hours last week.

Someone told me I was mentioned in the Google reviews for gmail. The sentence they pulled out is attributed to Art Torrez. Which is my uncle's name. It's cool.

I think I'm going to leave this job in the near future. This might be burn-out talking, but I feel like a toll-booth clerk. I'm not making anything anymore. It's all re-hashing what I already know. If I could figure out a way to make tools like Dropload or Nutshell full-time I'd be a happy camper.

I did do a few cool things with this site we just built. I learned a little bit of Python and built some cool XML parsing and transformation functions, I think half of that was me trying to make my work more interesting. I think our team did a pretty good job and it was fun working with them, but at the end of the day the site is pretty much a big brochure to sell video games.

I'm probably going to take my comp days and head up to SF after E3. If it wasn't for my house I would have moved up there years ago.

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This looks like a good book to buy, with a forward by Joel Spolsky. I didn't go to college very long to get any sort of formal education, most of what I do is pretty standard web dev. I flirted with Windows applications for a while, but like learning a new language, you really need to be immersed in it to get it. I can write any sort of windows app possible, I think. I don't feel limited by what my applications can do, just how I go about doing them, and maintaining them. I don't know if that made sense.

I just realized we did our whole round of bug fixes using Joel's FogBugz. Funny how that works. That reminds me of something I was thinking about the other day. I'm 100 times more likely to buy something from someone who has a web prescence than someone who does not. I buy books by Paul, Matt, David, and even Cory quicker than I'd buy something from someone else. I can link them and read them, so I feel like I know them and I want to support them. Plus they write good books.

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I don't get too many tech support emails from users of Dropload mainly because I somewhat obscure my address by requiring the person to click the "Site Developed By..." link at the bottom of each page. I like to think of the site as a water fountain in a desert. It's there to serve. Who knows if someone maintains it? It just exists.

Once in a while I get a nice email from someone threatening to not use my free water fountain.

>How do you send an Irishman crazy? Tell him to open a
>box which has “Open other end” written on both ends.
>
>How do you send an internet user crazy? Entice him to
>sign up with Dropload.com, then send him back to the
>start page every time he tries to log in. Make sure there
>is no contact address anywhere on the site, and have a
>request for donations using the smelly PayPal service
>on the page you’d expect to provide contact information.
>What a joke.
>
>I’ll use one of the other free file transfer services which actually does something.
>
>
>
>Bye,
>Bob Parker

Dearest Bob,

I am heartbroken! I shall tell all my closest friends that Bob Parker, the Bearded Electronics Wonder From Down Under, will not, I repeat *NOT* be using our free web site to send his files.

No! I shall shout from the highest peak! I shall take advertisements out in all my local circulars, that Bob Parker, endorser of Hurstville Bedding, Co and Carlton Seafood & Takeaway, shall not, I repeat NOT be utilizing the free online web services of those two dastardly villains, those purveyors of piss-poor programming, the men who wield dropload.com so carelessly, have wrought upon this Earth!

They shall be banished..BANISHED to the page of pure evil, the page Bob "Yes, I have a Beard! What of it?" Parker has set aside for evil corporations. Now, when someone thinks of the name "dropload.com", they will no longer think of pooping their pants, but instead associate it with that evil corporation who does their bidding under the name, "Virgin Mobile (AUS)".

Virgin. Mobile. (AUS).

In addition, I shall ponder his Irish jokes, for they are not bigoted and foolish, they are wisdom dripped from the mouth of a man who is taking the American spammer head-on!

Until the ends of my days I will carry with me the pain in my heart that I let Bob "I grew the beard to hide the tattoo of a beard, okay?" Parker down!

Armitage!!!

Kisses,
Andre Torrez

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I bought a ticket for the first day of Coachella. I was going to drive up, see the Pixies and then haul ass out of there.

Unfortunately, I have to work. So this ticket is for sale. $100. Hopefully you work in or around Marina del Rey to come pick it up.

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For those of you coming from the Salon article, here are a few Gmail links that I have seen recently:

  1. Gmail design flaw in security.
  2. Gmail Gems a weblog about gmail.
  3. Gmail Forums an unofficial gmail user discussion board</a>.

Also, I would like to say as a gmail beta user, I've been absolutely thrilled with how well it works and was designed. The fact that Google's computers are sensing the content on the page doesn't bother me in the slightest.

It's too bad that the only way to raise awareness for your cause and your own profile is to be outraged on my behalf.

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I don't have the time to do this, but maybe someone out there does? Feel free to take this idea.

A web site with user accounts that has a location field (area code?). The ability to, via text message, email, or a function on the site, to submit a license plate of a bad driver. The license plates are grouped according locations like Los Angeles, or states. The state might be set in the user's account, a default state for submissions maybe?

There would be a few false positives, naturally, but the real offenders would show up. This might even be a more useful site for bike riders and pedestrians.

I can also imagine there could be discussion beneath each license plate entry.

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What is Langalist? Apparently Dropload got mentioned there and we just passed 23,000 users. We're listed under the heading "Bad Name, Good Idea". Hah! Pottle-kettle-black, Fred.

It's a little hard to get excited about new users when I know that it means more bandwidth and HD space and very little $. Um, no $. When did I become such a hippie?

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editingdocument2.jpg
SubEthaTrack is a web server that allows people to place their shared SubEthaEdit documents up for the world to see and edit in real time. Why nobody thought of this sooner is beyond me.

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As Andrew Cooke said in his excellent compute mailing list: "One of those odd 'it's very cool, but where exactly is it going?' things..."

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One of my favorite GMail features is plus addressing [?]. I already, with my torrez.org domain, hand out tons of aliases when signing up for things, and so being able to continue that method of tracking where an email address was harvested from is very useful.

Today I received five pieces of spam, all of them were sent to my gmail address without the trailing + part. Meaning, I believe, that spam harvesting spiders are smart enough to clip that little tag off before committing the address to their database. I don't believe I have ever placed my address on a spiderable page without some sort of + addressing tag.

Also, two web forms I have filled out in the past week have filtered the + in my gmail address as a space (which is understandable, it's a method of urlencoding spaces), rendering the account I was creating unusable.

I like the idea of plus addressing, but I am afraid it's not going to be as useful as I had hoped if spam harvesters are clever enough to know when they're being tricked, and web developers are filtering out the plus character in registration pages.

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A lot of my friends and co-workers, as well as myself, are using an iTunes plugin that puts the current song you're listening to in your AIM status message. It's called iChat Status and it's a fun way to see what your friends are listening to at any moment.

Oh sure, I have to deal with "Andre, what the hell are you listening to Ben Lee for!?" or "Can you zip up that entire Wu-Tang album for me and upload it to your server?" But I like sharing music and turning people on to stuff, so it's cool. (btw, Ben Lee's "Grandpaw Would" is the only album worth listening to)

Anyway, what I'd like to be able to do is point my iTunes at my buddy list and when it notices someone playing a song I own, I'd like it to queue up that song to play when it gets a chance.

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It seems that Dropload got mentioned somewhere big (I think Lockergnome or a related Chris thing since a few people needing tech support in the past couple of days have mentioned Chris having told them) and we're getting tons of new subscribers to the service.

A couple of things about this influx:

  1. AOL users still enter their screename when they mean to enter their email address when signing up for things
  2. We're at 22,000 registered users and climbing rapidly
  3. We'll break 100,000 files transferred by the weekend
  4. Average file size transferred: 6.7 megs
  5. People with .nl at the end of their domain name trade a lot of porn
  6. Some of my co-workers use it for work. It's really cool to have them stop me in the kitchen and tell me how much they like it.
  7. If I had a dollar for every person that signed up...

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I like to see what people are working on.

I seem to keep a revolving . If projects are small

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For Christmas we bought our mom an iMac. There were a few reasons, but the main one had to do with spyware. I have heard horror stories from friends about going to visit their parents and finding their computers thick with spyware, porn popups littering the desktop, and their parents assuming it was normal. (Matt documented a few related troubles with his dad's computer)

Every month or so I get an email from some jerk wanting to help me make money with my nutshell toolbar. I ignore them, of course, but I can imagine other people not being so honest.

I bring this all up to link this BBC article that cites a study by Earthlink that it had "uncovered an average of 28 spyware programs on each PC scanned during the first three months of the year."

Do your parents a favor and teach them how Ad Aware works... or better yet, get them a Mac.

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Prioritizing feeds is something I have wanted too, and it appears to be coming in this newsreader that emulates a mail interface--but what I really want to do is be able to subscribe to comment pages.

I coded a new site that's not quite ready yet, though a few people are using it. It not only offers feeds for top level items, but each discussion has it's own XML feed generated so you can keep a folder in your newsreader for disposable feeds--ones that you could ditch at any moment when the conversation no longer interests you.

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I am enjoying some Toots & The Maytals this morning. One Eye Enos. Testing out my new media server... doo doo dah doo.

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I just saw Jason Shellen's running tally of GMail reviews. He's got my torrez.org one linked on it but since I never use log analyzers I'd never know. Heh.

I just found out something gmail does that I didn't know it did: +addressing. Meaning I can make my own address (andre.torrez+example@gmail.com) and filter on the word "example". That's a big one.

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Since nobody reads this blog, I'm probably safe to link this zip file containing the Pixies first show (all gone!) of their reunion tour. Ripped at like 224 kbps VBR from what I assume is the actual board. It sounds great. It's about 100 megs.

(Email me for the link now..)

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Last night on the Sopranos Paulie uttered his best line yet, "Why does shittin', pissin', and fuckin' all happen within a two inch radius?"

Dooce has a great post today concerning the two inch radius.

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Paul Ford's piece on Pepsi Tilting reminded me of the day I built my first red box.

A red box, for those of you not in the know is a device that allowed you to make free pay-phone calls. When a quarter was dropped into a pay-phone, five little tones were sent down the line to the central office telling them that a quarter was deposited (a dime is two tones, one tone equaled five cents). Through secret channels and text files the instructions were passed along.

It was so simple to build and use that it was almost a joke. Since I was in college I'd build red boxes for anyone who wanted to give me the $10 it cost to make one. I think if a hack like that were to come out now, it'd be routed around within a year.

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What I like about the beta version of gmail:

  1. The conversation format is an obvious natural evolution of email. I've seen a few mail clients attempt it through threading and grouping, but I've never seen it done as well as this.
  2. Secure server access. You can go to https://gmail.google.com/ and conduct your session securely.
  3. Labels versus folders. Instead of making folders to hold individual messages (Did I put that message in the "Namco" folder or in the "System Admin" folder?) all messages live in your inbox and can be filtered by labels you assign or auto-assign to them.
  4. The key commands, are inspired by vi. I wasn't sure whether to put this on my like or dislike list, it's too fashionable to bash vi, so I'll put it here, it's cute. ("bash vi"...Unix jokes never die)
  5. Purely from a technical standpoint, I love the use of JavaScript to make this work more like an app and less like a web app. Or, as some have suggested, to thwart scripted automation from 3rd party clients. Either way, it's an impressive feat and I applaud anyone who attempts that kind of stuff.
  6. One gigabyte of saved email. That's incredible. At the very least set up a double forward to archive all your messages for easy searching later.
  7. Plus Addressing

What I dislike about beta version of gmail:

  1. No remote POP access. If I can't access my gmail from any web browser, then I should at least be able to do it from a POP client.
  2. No POP access from within gmail. I want to connect gmail to my other POP accounts.
  3. I had to use andre.torrez@gmail.com because both 'andre' and 'torrez' were not available. I know this is a silly thing to complain about, but keee-rist you'd think the least I could get for being in on the beta is a super-hot vanity address. Okay, someone explained to me that a spammer would just run through common names @gmail.com so they have a list that is not allowed. Makes sense.

Weird moment using the beta version of gmail

  1. Going to https://www.google.com/accounts/ManageAccount to manage my "account".

I am sure I'll keep updating this as I find new things.

Update (04/23/04): It looks like GMail now works in Safari. Hooray.

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Just when I thought I was going to be able to offload the blog duties to TypePad, it seems like a few people are having second thoughts.

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This is how interviews should be done! Spike Jonze being interviewed in Interview magazine.

Interviewer: Have you considered advertising this movie as a modern-day Cocoon for hipsters?

Spike Jonze: Oh, you picked up on that, did you? You're good. But no, I'm just going to leave it as it is. The tale of a man who plays with dolls.

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big-bass About two months ago, before the band broke up, I ordered a new bass. I had been using an old 1962 Fender Jazz Re-issue that sounded beautiful, but not really a rock guitar. It had a wonderful growl and resonance, but no punch. I needed a punch.

Last weekend it finally arrived, a special order through Guitar Center. I've been playing it every night as soon as I walk in the door. That cat hops up on the bass cabinet and purrs right along with the basslines.

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It's Saturday morning and I feel like cleaning up. I'm fickle.

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